Power of Aletheia
earliest exposure to the concept of ki (or
chi, in Chinese) came from my first martial art teacher.
He incorporated the idea during meditation.
In the East, ki is considered an energy that
not only fills the universe, but is channeled through our bodies
along pathways called meridians. Acupuncture directs the flow of
these meridians in order to promote healing. It is also used in
some martial arts by those who master it through meditation.
My teacher, who happened to live next door, would
have me sit on the grass and close my eyes. While breathing in deeply,
I was to imagine that ki was pouring in through my nostrils from
the boundless universe and filling my upper lungs. Once filled,
I had to hold my breath and imagine this ki settling down into my
hara, or center of gravity, a couple inches below
the navel. There it would rest for a while, until I calmly and steadily
exhaled it through my mouth, imagining that ki was flowing out from
my hara into the far reaches of the universe again.
I was never very good at this. Too much of a
skeptic I suppose. Distracting mosquitoes might have had something
to do with that as well.
Half a century later, I find myself comparing
this episode with my understanding of Aletheia. Although
the two concepts really have nothing to do with one another, I hope
that the following illustration sheds some light on this important
Aletheia is term from ancient Greek philosophy
that means truth. For Chivalry-Now it describes truth as having
contextual qualities that our English word does not. For one thing,
Aletheia encompasses an experience of truth that is both objective
and subjective at the same time. It holds a strong regard for reason
and logic and the scientific method, yet recognizes that we are
part of truth at the same time. We cannot remove ourselves from
it, or remain unmoved in its presence, or not intuit wisdom that
might be inspired by the subconscious. For human beings, truth is
not just fact, or a collection of facts, it is nourishment to the
soul. Our understanding of it defines who we are as individuals.
It is capable of generating awe as nothing else can. A fantastic
source of strength and moral resolve, it can be likened to life
itself. Truth exists on its own, of course. As such, we can experience
it. If we are true to the quest, we seek it out like the Holy Grail.
This has nothing to do with ki, and yet my description
of meditating for ki offers an interesting comparison.
A mind filled with junk thought cannot experience
Aletheia. Some quiet is necessary, along with some openness, and
a receptivity for existential awe. Call it meditation if you wish.
I call it contemplation. The mind is not so much empty as it draws
from the experience of the moment. Figuratively speaking, when we
experience Aletheia, we breathe it is, let it fill us, absorb it
for a while as a tantalizing, learning experience, and then send
it back into the world through the exhalation of our words and deeds.
Okay. The comparison may be a stretch. What I
am trying to point out is that our relationship to truth, to Aletheia,
is a living dynamic of change, of intellectual realization. The
quest teaches us that the deep experience of truth is life-transforming
(anagnorisis). We take truth in and grow in the process. We become
ever more authentic. We learn from it by channeling it into our
lives. becoming extensions of truth when we live rightly, sending
our insights and inspirations out to others.
One does not have to kneel in silence to do this.
All we have to do is be receptive in our daily lives to the opportunities
of experiencing truth directly, appreciating its depth of meaning
and implications and how we might fit in. Here we find an intense
experience of life that money cannot buy that validates our existence.
We encounter and activate it in our lives not
just as conduits, but as living expressions. Our relationship with
truth is an energy that we can tap into that guides us more reliably
than illusion, and makes a difference in everything we do by adding
consciousness of truth in the world we live in.
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